#TBRChallenge 2024 Review: His Grumpy Childhood Friend by Jackie Lau

Posted January 17, 2024 by Jen in Contemporary Romance, Rating B, Reviews Tags: , , , ,

Book cover of His Grumpy Childhood Friend by Jackie LauHis Grumpy Childhood Friend
Jackie Lau
Rating: B

What I’m Talking About:

Five years ago, Charlotte’s nightmare came true: her then boyfriend proposed in public, on the Jumbotron at a Jay’s game. She ran away and swore off dating. Present day, Charlotte decides she is ready to date again, but is worried she’ll mess it up because she prefers wearing PJs and drinking coffee at home alone. When she runs into Mike, her childhood best friend she hasn’t seen in 20 years, she asks if he’ll go on some practice dates with her so that she will be ready to enter the dating world again.

His Grumpy Childhood Friend is an excellent fit for this month’s TBR Challenge theme, Once More with Feeling. Adolescent Mike was in love with Charlotte, but was too young to understand his feelings. His verbally and emotionally abusive parents moved their family in the middle of the night and refused to let him keep in contact with Charlotte. As the pair reconnect in present day, they get a chance to repair the bond of friendship while adding in a whole lot of feelings. 

Both Charlotte and Mike carry baggage into the budding relationship, but both are aware that they can get help rather than walk away. Mike has gone through therapy and cut all ties with his parents, but he recognizes his issues run deep and he needs more help. I love that he acknowledges his issues and reaches out to trusted people. Even though he can spiral into “I’m no good, she deserves better,” he realizes it’s not the truth. Meanwhile Charlotte prepares herself by reading about bad dates and relationship pitfalls online, freaking her out a bit. But she knows that not all men are her ex (or a maniac out to kidnap and kill her) and is able to move forward.

His Grumpy Childhood Friend is a thoughtful, sexy romance featuring imperfect characters and no drama. I appreciate that Lau works to give readers relatable characters who deal with issues in a responsible manner. 

My Rating:  B

About the Book:

It’s been five years since Charlotte Tam had to endure a public proposal at a baseball game—literally the stuff of her nightmares—and realized her ex never really knew her. She hasn’t dated since, afraid that no man will understand her cranky, introverted, coffee-obsessed self, but she wants to try again. Her friend suggests she ask a guy to ease her into the dating game and give her some lessons.

That night at the cider bar, Charlotte runs into Mike Guo, her childhood best friend who lived in the house next door twenty years ago. Surely easygoing Mike, who is now surprisingly handsome, must do well in the world of love. He’s the perfect candidate for this.

But as they go on practice dates around Toronto and even have kissing lessons, Charlotte starts to fall for Mike, and that was never part of the plan. He’s too different from her, just like her ex—how could it work? And she suspects Mike has secrets of his own…

Can their childhood friendship really become love?

Release Date: October 7, 2020
Cider Bar Sisters #2
Contemporary Romance
paperback (232 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: Purchased with my own funds

Purchase Info: